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Twins Fire Gardenhire: press conference notes

Au revoir, Gardy.

Ron Gardenhire is a nice guy. No matter how frustrating his in-game decisions might have been from time to time, no matter how angry he got with an umpire before (and after) getting thrown out of the game, no matter how testy he may have been when asked a silly question, everything he did was for what he believed to be the best interest of the team. He loved his job, and even at the press conference in which his firing was the topic of discussion, it showed. He loves the Twins, and he loved his job.

As the presser got underway, Terry Ryan outlined a few things for the purposes of clarity. Ownership and the front office's decision on Gardenhire "wasn't just one person's decision," and it was based on "nothing other than wins and losses." The implication here is that the powers that be were perfectly happy with how Gardy handled the talent available to him, his attitude, and everything else. But they recognized that a change needed to be made, which was alluded to on a couple of occasions later in the presser as "a different voice," and it's good to hear that the organization understood that something needed to change.

Each of the seven other coaches are currently "in limbo," as their contracts expire at the end of the year. They may be retained depending on who the new manager will be, but Ryan won't stand in anyone's way if they have an opportunity to coach elsewhere. That includes Gardenhire, who has been offered a role within the organization since his contract still runs for another year.

Here are a few quotes from Ryan and Gardenhire from the question and answer portion of the press conference.

  • Gardy, when thanking the press: "You guys have been very kind to me...not lately."
  • To Mike Berardino, who called Gardy's wife and tweeted it: "Remember now, I'm a fan - I can punch you in the nose."
  • Gardy repeatedly talked about his feelings for the team. "I want this organization to win."
  • On his next step, managing specifically: "If there's another opportunity and I thought it might be right for me and my family, I would do that. I'm not done managing."
  • Ryan, on the difficult nature of this decision: "I feel like he's my brother, not my manager." (At this point Gardy removed his cap and rubbed his bald head to drive the point home.)
  • On managerial candidates, after saying (perhaps prematurely) that his preference was to stay internal while casting the net wide: "Preference is to get the best guy. It'd be nice to stay inside."
  • Gardy's advice to his successor: "You're in a better [position] than I was when I came in, because you're not talking about being contracted."
All in all, Ryan was typically somber and to the point while Gardenhire was making jokes and behaving in the manner of a guy who is happy the decision has finally just happened. No doubt the possibility of being dismissed had been on his mind for some time. But through it all it was clear that Gardy loved his job, that he loves the organization, that he'll miss it, and that he's looking forward to what's next.

My feeling is that he'll take another managerial role if a decent one becomes available, but if not he'll be happy to stick around. I also got the sense that Ryan would strongly prefer to promote his manager from within, but that remains to be seen - there have already been a number of names thrown into the hat.